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records, it may be accounted for in this way: "It is common," a writer1 has said in speaking of the times, "to see several offices in the hands of a single person who perhaps was a colonel, a judge of probate, justice of the peace, member of the legislature," etc.
The British had now concentrated their forces, amounting to thirty thousand men, nearly half of whom were Hessians, in the vicinity of New York. Washington's army was greatly inferior to them in numbers as well as in equipment and discipline.
On the twenty-second of August ten thousand British troops landed on Long Island under Howe, Tryon, Clinton, and Cornwallis. The American army, being only eight thousand strong, was posted around Brooklyn. On the twenty-seventh of August General Grant's division of the British army proceeded as far as Greenwood Cemetery, where General Stirling met him with fifteen hundred men, and hostilities commenced, with no decisive result. General Heister, in command of the British centre, advanced beyond Flatbush and engaged the main body of the Americans under Sullivan; but they gained little until the latter was made aware that a battle was going on at his left.
Along the length of the island extended a ridge over which no army could pass except at the regular passes of Flatbush and Jamaica, and at these points videttes had been stationed to give warning of any attempt on the part of the British to cross. Putnam, towards the north, held the fortified camps. Howe, by some strategy, induced the young officers appointed to guard the Flatbush pass to advance to meet him; when a portion of his army making a détour captured the pass, and only waited for the morning to fold around our army. Sullivan's division had been literNothing was now left for the
ally cut to pieces.
patriots but to yield the position; and Washington, with his wonderful tact, that caused his retreats to rank next to victories, collected all the boats possible. A motley assembly, surely, and I doubt if ever such a fleet was seen before; sloops, schooners, whale-boats, periaugers, and rowing-galleys worked all night, and morning gave to the enemy only a few worthless guns. Sullivan, Stirling, and Woodhull, with nearly one thousand patriots, were missing from the day's battle. The English hastily crossed in pursuit, and the patriots tried to escape across the island, having landed at different points in New York. Scott's brigade crossed at Fifteenth Street, and making a détour of the city reached Harlem Plains, where he met the other stragglers. Too much praise cannot be awarded to Mrs. Murray, whose large farm-house stood at the junction of the present Thirty-fourth Street and Lexington Avenue, then a large farm. Here by her tact she entertained Howe's men with her good cheer, and himself and officers by her gracious hospitality, till the Americans had crossed the island and were safely intrenched on Harlem Heights.
The American army was now obliged to leave New York, and Washington wrote to Governor Turnbull that the Provincial Congress had resolved not to injure the city; but a fire broke out, no one knew how it originated, and the greater part of the city was destroyed. This fire consumed the Huguenot church.
In this year Captain Nathan Hale was arrested by the British, who now held the city, and was executed in the orchard belonging to the family of Scott's wife, Helena Rutger. It took place on what is now East Broadway, a little above Franklin Square.
On the fourth of June, 1777, the New York convention met at Windsor; and the inhabitants of the grant known as New Connecticut elected some depu
1 Mother of Lindley Murray, the grammarian.
ties to "sitt" at the said convention, at which it was declared that the grant should thenceforth be known. as an independent State, and be called Vermont. A certain Williams, writing to the Secretary of the New York convention, mentions the affair, and says in regard to the pending election for Governor :
I believe we have been pretty unanimous in the Election for governor and Lieutenant Governor, to witt, Gen1 Morin Scott & Clinton1 but there were very few that voted. The Lott number 68 in Argyle belonging to Gen! Scott, I must beg you'll procure for me in behalf of Cap Martin, I'm informed som other people are after it. However I am of opinion Gen Scott will not Lett any one have it without giving Capt Martin the refusal.
I am dear Sir your very Hum! Servt
Morin Scott's name appears in the State Senate from the year 1777 to 1782; as a member of Congress from the year 1779 to 1781; as member of the Continental Congress, 1782-1783; as Secretary of State of New York from 1778 to 1789; and as member of Congress, 1780-1783.
After the battle of White Plains the Americans were driven from position after position, and finally through the Jerseys to Princeton, Trenton, and into Pennsylvania. Then came the battle of Princeton, after which the greater part of New Jersey was recovered by the patriots. War was raging all around the old homestead, and while our modern Telemachus was enjoying his life of dolce far niente in the isles of the Atlantic, the courageous Penelope was guarding the lares and penates of her hearthstone.
On the twenty-third of July Howe sailed from New
1 Clinton was nominee for Governor and Scott for Lieutenant-Governor, although from the letter it would appear vice versa.
2 Doc. Hist.
York to attack Philadelphia, then the seat of the Continental Congress, and succeeded in reducing it by the twenty-sixth of September. Then came the defeat of Germantown and the long and dreary winter at Valley Forge, and at the close of 1777 the patriot cause was nearly ended. Then came the treaty with France, and D'Estaing's fleet approached the capital, and on the eighteenth of June, 1778, Howe's army evacuated Philadelphia and retreated across New Jersey. At Monmouth the British were overtaken.
Sunday the twenty-eighth was an intensely hot day. Clinton was moving cautiously and Knyphausen was hastening forward on the Middletown road; the left wing, following, had passed a mile or more beyond the Court House. On the north, outflanking the British, were the American columns. Lee advanced from the old Monmouth church by the main road, crossing two deep ravines upon causeways; his left wing was folding around Cornwallis on the north, occupying superior ground; his centre, under Wayne, was close behind; and his right wing, under Lafayette, was already past the Court House, threatening the other end of the British lines, whose position was one of extreme danger, and there was every prospect of a glorious victory for the American army. Wayne had just begun a vigorous attack, but a halt was ordered by Lee. The British troops came down the road to separate Wayne and Lafayette; but it was an easy matter to check them, and the Marquis started to do so, but a halt was again ordered by Lee, who commanded, instead, a retreat across a marshy ravine. On the verge of a victory they were compelled to flee, but from what no one knew; and bitter disappointment took the place of their exultant ardor of the morning. The enemy began to pursue them, and as they crowded over the causeway the ranks began to fall into disorder and many sank
exhausted by the heat, and some were slain by the enemy. The Marquis ordered an aid to seek the Commander-in-Chief and report the strange conduct of Lee. The soldier met him just where the road forks not far from the old Monmouth church and delivered his message. Washington hastily sprang to his horse and soon found himself in the midst of the disorder. A halt was ordered, and the retreating soldiers immediately wheeled and formed under the firing with as much calmness and precision as they could have shown on parade. And while they stopped the evening's progress Washington rode back and brought up the main body of his army, Greene with his battery from the heights, and Wayne from the front; and the British were driven back upon the second ravine which Lee had crossed in the morning's advance. The gallant Steuben brought up from the rear, and night fell. Morning found the British troops withdrawn, and America claimed a victory. Lord Stanhope saw a drawn battle.1
This battle of Monmouth was partly fought on. the land which fell to Philip's wife as her portion, and on which they resided after the flames had destroyed their residence at Mount Pleasant, from which the battle could be easily heard at the time, and in which were assembled his mother and her little family - all but Philip.
i Gen. John Morin Scott took part in this battle, also Gen. David Forman.